PAOK Salonika 0-0 Tottenham

By Nabil HassanBBC Sport
Harry Kane
Tottenham were denied a first-half penalty after Harry Kane was tripped in the box

Much-changed Tottenham got their Europa League group campaign underway with a spirited point at PAOK Salonika.

Spurs debutant Iago Falque had an early side-footed shot from 18 yards cleared off the line by Pablo Garcia.

Tottenham were denied a spot kick when Harry Kane was brought down and soon after PAOK defender Lino sent a retaken penalty wide of Carlo Cudicini's goal.

Cudicini later produced a triple save before Vladimir Ivic headed against the crossbar in the last minute.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp made 10 changes to his line-up for the clash in Thessaloniki but despite the unfamiliar starting XI, his side made a lively start to the game.

Redknapp handed a first start to Falque and the youngster, on loan from Juventus, almost got Spurs off to a flying start.

His shot from the edge of the area was cleared off the line by Garcia following Jake Livermore's surging right-wing run.

It took the hosts a while to settle into the game with Vieirinha their most lively attacking threat, but by and large it was Tottenham who controlled the opening 45 minutes.

Forward Kane was proving a handful for the PAOK defence and after heading straight at goalkeeper Dario Kresic he was later denied a clear penalty.

His powerful run into the box was halted by Pablo Contreras but the referee booked the 18-year-old for diving rather than award a spot kick.

The decision incensed Redknapp, who moments later was left cursing that decision when Cudicini brought down Stefanos Athanasiadis to hand the home side a penalty they barely deserved.

The initial spot kick was scored by Lino, but he was forced to take it again with PAOK penalised for encroachment into the box.

And much to the relief of Cudicini and Spurs his second attempt was sent wide of the Italian keeper's left-hand post and the score remained level.

Spurs had chances as the half came to a close with Pavlyuchenko firing a 20-yard free-kick inches too high of Kresic's goal.

Falque was desperately unlucky at the start of the second period not to see his curling left-foot 20-yard shot find the back of the net following good strength by Roman Pavlyuchenko as Tottenham remained the most likely side to break the deadlock.

Unsurprisingly considering the searing heat in Greece, Tottenham's play noticeably slowed while their passing became slightly erratic and the hosts started to come into the game.

Athanasiadis came desperately close to getting the first goal of the game, but he blazed over on the stretch from six yards following Dimitris Salpingidis's driven low cross.

As the game moved into the final stages Tottenham continued to plug away, driven on by the superb Livermore and lively Falque, while Kyle Walker proved a useful outlet on the right.

Garcia went close for the hosts with 15 minutes remaining, dragging his shot wide following an enterprising run on the right.

Tottenham were then in debt to keeper Cudicini for a superb double save, first from Ivic and then from Athanasiadis.

And then in the last minute Vieirinha again forced a brilliant reaction stop from Cudicini from a tight angle before Ivic headed against the crossbar in a frantic finish to the game.

But despite the late drama Tottenham held on for a deserved point.

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